Updated: September 09, 2020 06:03 AM
Created: September 08, 2020 06:54 PM
The profanity-laced outburst by a Minnesota House DFL candidate last month resulted in the cancellation of a fundraiser for a dozen candidates on Tuesday.
John Thompson is the DFL-endorsed candidate for a St. Paul House seat. Last month he used profanity and made threats to what he called "racist white people" at a Black Lives Matter rally in Hugo. He also used a stick to beat the effigy of a female television reporter who is the wife of Minneapolis Police Federation President Bob Kroll. The protest happened outside the couple's home.
On Monday the Minnesota Police and Peace Officer's Association sent a letter to DFL House Speaker Melissa Hortman urging "the DFL House Caucus to immediately end their support of his candidacy..."
The association noted that it represents over 10,000 law enforcement officers in the state and has endorsed members of the House DFL Caucus, but won't support anyone who supports Thompson's candidacy.
"We are writing to address our deep frustration with the continued support shown by the DFL House Caucus to John Thompson for his candidacy for state representative…Thompson has threatened to burn down a neighborhood and beat an effigy of a police officer's wife, a female reporter, while standing outside their home. This is violent and outrageous behavior…"
Hortman responded by canceling the planned virtual fundraiser that was to seek donations of $100 to $5,000 for 12 DFL candidates, including Thompson.
"We understand that proceeding with the fundraiser would have conveyed to some that we condoned the conduct in Hugo," Hortman said in a statement. "We do not. This is a time to move forward from conflict and division. We have to come together to heal our state and provide safety for all Minnesotans, no matter what you look like or where you live."
University of Minnesota Political Science Professor Larry Jacobs says that might not be going far enough.
"John Thompson has become a cancer on the DFL House caucus," Jacobs told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS on Tuesday. "The House caucus has got to distance itself from John Thompson...His outrageous outburst filled with violence and filled with invective has now poisoned that race."
Jacobs says Thompson's candidacy could hurt DFL candidates in races outside his heavily DFL-leaning district.
"Donald Trump has been running on the theme of law and order and John Thompson is becoming a poster child for exactly what Republicans have been warning about," Jacobs said.
Thompson has not responded to requests for interviews from 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS. He reportedly has received death threats since the Hugo event last month. Thompson apologized for his behavior on his campaign Facebook page but has given no indication he will drop out of the race.
Copyright 2020 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company